Enhancing Children's Future

(Global Childhood Report, by Save the Children)

Children born today have a better chance than at any time in history to grow up healthy, educated and protected, with the opportunity to reach their full potential. Even a generation ago, a child was twice as likely to die before reaching age 5, 70 percent more likely to be involved in child labor and 20 percent more likely to be murdered.

Global progress has saved millions of childhoods since the year 2000. Now there are:
• 4.4 million fewer child deaths per year
• 49 million fewer stunted children
• 115 million fewer children out of school
• 94 million fewer child laborers
• 11 million fewer married girls
• 3 million fewer teen births per year
• 12,000 fewer child homicides per year

With an analysis form Save the Children they examined the major reasons as to why childhood comes to an early end, find fewer children suffering ill-health, malnutrition, exclusion from education, child labor, child marriage, early pregnancy and violent death.

In the year 2000, an estimated 970 million children were robbed of their childhoods due to these causes. That number today has been reduced to 690 million 2 – meaning at least 280 million children are better off today than they would have been two decades ago.

A comparison of End of Childhood Index scores finds the overall situation for children has improved in 173 out of 176 countries since 2000.  This shows tremendous progress for children is taking place in some of the poorest countries in the world, providing ever increasing evidence that development work is paying huge dividends in countries where needs are greatest.

Countries have also made substantial progress in enrolling children in school and reducing malnutrition, child labor and child marriage. Progress in these areas has resulted in millions fewer children missing out on childhood.

However, the world has made less progress in reducing adolescent births and child homicide, and there has been no progress at all in reducing the number of children living in areas of violence and conflict. In fact, the number of children living in war zones or forced to flee their homes due to conflict has skyrocketed since 2000.

Today, 1 child in 4 is being denied the right to a childhood – a time of life that should be safe for growing, learning and playing. These stolen childhoods are increasingly concentrated in the world’s conflict zones.Finding ways to fulfill children’s health, education and protection rights in conflict zones is central to the challenge of ensuring every child has the childhood they deserve.

How can we drive change in the lives of children?

Government commitment- to play a crucial role in helping millions more children survive and thrive.

Improve planning and implementation – Ensure policy commitments are important which also require detailed and coordinated programs to succeed.

Enhancing social investment and economic growth – Economic growth on its own does not guarantee greater resources for social investment in children’s programs, but a number of countries have used additional resources resulting from economic growth to create highly effective programs benefiting children.

Reducing inequities – Progress in child well-being has often been greatest where there has been an explicit emphasis on directing resources to and improving the situation of the poorest and most marginalized groups.

Early childhood education is one of the best investments a country can make to prepare children for learning and to help them succeed later in life. Early education also enhances the efficiency of the school system by reducing repetition and drop-outs and improving achievement, especially among girls and disadvantaged groups.


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